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Former U.S. Representative Todd Akin, a conservative Missouri Republican, whose remarks that women’s bodies are a way to avoid pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” sank his bid for the U.S. Senate and a cautionary tale for other GOP candidates. The story became, he died late on Sunday night. He was 74 years old.

Akin had cancer for several years, his son Perry said in a statement. He died at his home in the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood.

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“As my father’s death draws near, we have people from all different walks of life to share the story of his personal impact,” Perry Akin said in a statement to the Associated Press.

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“He was a devoted Christian, a great father and friend of many. We cherish many fond memories of him driving the tractor on our annual hayride, his scintillating delivery of a story of freedom dressed in full uniform to 4th of July parties. For. of a colonial minuteman. The family is grateful for his legacy: a man with the heart of a servant who stood up for the truth.”

Akin represented a Republican-leaning East Missouri district, which includes the St. Louis-area suburb, for 12 years, giving up a secure seat to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He emerged from a crowded GOP primary to challenge then-Democratic US Sen. Claire McCaskill, only to seriously hurt Republicans’ chances of reclaiming a Senate majority less than two weeks later.

Akin, a strong anti-abortion anti-abortion, was asked during an interview by a St. Louis television station whether he supported allowing abortions for rape victims. He replied that “from what I understand from doctors” that such pregnancies are “really rare”.

He added: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing up.”

His comment caused an uproar. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney immediately reprimanded Akin, saying his campaign would allow abortions in such cases.

Criticism of Akin’s comments tarnished his US Senate bid by the end, making him a symbol of how Republicans can get away with the race had they had a good chance of winning with a candidate who had a better chance of winning. was considered too far away. Akin’s campaign initially said he had “done the wrong thing,” and Akin later said he was wrong.

Akin faced pressure to withdraw from the National GOP and allow the State Party to choose a replacement. He refused and lost the race by about 16 percentage points, receiving 39% of the vote. Yet other Republican officials and office-bearers across America sometimes echoed his comments – indicating how conservative some of the party’s base had become on the issue.

Two years later, Akin published a book called “Firing Back,” in which he accused GOP leaders of letting him down and letting McCaskill win, and labeling news organizations as bullies. In the book, he also withdrew a public apology for his “legitimate rape” remark.

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Akin never ran for office again, although in early 2015, he briefly fueled speculation about his 2016 primary challenge to GOP US Sen. Roy Blunt, remarking that Tea Party Republicans wanted “new blood”. Were.

Akin was born on July 5, 1947, in New York City, but grew up in the St. Louis area. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering and management from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts in 1970, served in the US Army., and worked for IBM. He worked in corporate management at the Lacled Steel Company in St. Louis.

He won a seat in the Missouri House in 1988 and served in the Legislature for 10 years. He won Missouri’s second Congressional District seat in 2000 and was re-elected five times. She also served on the board of the anti-abortion group Missouri Right to Life.

In the 2012 US Senate primary, Akin faced two formidable opponents, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner.

Many Democrats thought McCaskill’s best shot at winning re-election would be with Akin as the GOP candidate. His campaign aired television commercials that suggested Akin was too conservative, that Brunner was not a credible conservative and that Steelman represented “more politics as ever”.

Republicans took the ads as an attempt to help Akin win McCaskill’s GOP primaries. An autobiography that McCaskill published in 2015 said that he tried to promote Akin’s campaign by urging the resumption of a television ad through back channels, which featured the former conservative GOP presidential candidate and It was characterized by Mike Huckabee’s support of ex-Arkansas Gov.

McCaskill’s moves paid off. Akin prevailed in the eight-man GOP field with only 36% of the vote.

Funeral details have not been announced. Survivors include Akin’s wife, Lully Boye Akin, his mother, Nancy Bigelow Akin, four sons, two daughters., and 18 grandchildren.